An update: I spoke with an expert from the shop where I purchased the
unit. [I posted here because he was out that day . . . and the hamper
is filling up . . . ] When I described the symptoms to him, he said
"that sounds like 'suds lock'" and asked me what kind of detergent I
The owners manual does recommend using low-sudsing detergent. Since I
didin't have any, I had used a small quantity of traditional liquid.
Using a small quantity, the expert tells me, is not a replacement for
the low-sudsing (also branded as "high efficiency") powder (not
liquid!). The traditional liquid can get caught or built up in the
drum. The washer was trying to get rid of excess suds by pulling in a
little water, splashing the clothes around in it, then emptying that
water. Assuming this is the correct diagnosis, it might have gone on
for a while.
The remedy? Run a short program with no clothes, just a cup of white
vinegar, to clean out any residual from the first attempt. (No dry
cycle needed, of course.) Use high-efficiency powder in the future.
I ran the vinegar through last night and went out to buy some Tide HE
powder. This morning, I courageously put in a small load of light
colors and a minimal dose of washing powder. I set a nine hour delay
and the short program for cottons. If all goes well, I'll arrive home
tonight to a clean and dry load of laundry.
Would still love to hear from anyone with their experiences, especially
a good step-by-step. If Ariston can't get the manual entirely complete,
at least we can all share our experiences.